As I’ve said many times, practicing gratitude has helped me be happier in my life and get through some tough times. Practicing gratitude is really easy. Its just saying thank you. Thank you for the gifts you have received, in whatever packaging they came in, whether you need them or not, whether you deserved them or not, say thank you.
10 Simple gratitude practices
Begin a gratitude journal. This is so easy. You can use a simple notebook, or go all out and buy yourself a beautiful journal from Etsy or Amazon. Take a few minutes each day, either in the morning or last thing at night, to think about what you have been grateful for. You can choose 3, 5 10 or however many things you can think of, but get into the habit of taking the time to think about them and write them down. Also, try and think of different things. You may be grateful for your family and friends, but you’ve been given so many more gifts. Notice and celebrate them. If you’re artistic, then get a bullet journal instead, and decorate each day. Pinterest has loads of ideas. Just search “gratitude bullet journal” and take a look.
Think about what you say. I’ve noticed that when I speak I use words like, grateful, blessed, thankful, lucky, fortunate and gifts. So many things have come my way, so it’s only right to acknowledge them.
Say thank you. Whenever you receive something, whether it’s a card, present, hug, your cup of coffee or meal etc. Say thank you to the person who gave it to you. It’s good manners, but so many people don’t even acknowledge the giver any more, especially those providing a service.
Go one step further. Sometimes, you can go one step further than saying thank you. You can write a letter to the person, write a letter of praise to the person’s boss, give them a shout out on social media, write a good review and so on.
Write a thank you note. When we were growing up, and we were old enough, we always wrote a thank you letter for birthday and Christmas presents.
Look for the positive in a negative situation. Sometimes, when things are rough, it’s really hard to see the positive side of a negative situation. But there is usually something to be grateful for. When my dad was dying, I was grateful for the doctors and nurses who made him comfortable. I was grateful for the opportunity to be there holding his hand when the time came, and I was grateful for the time we shared in the last few years.
Donate what you don’t want. One of the things you realise when you practice gratitude is how much you have. Pay it forward, and donate some of the things you don’t need, that someone else would be grateful for. There are so many people in need these days who would appreciate what you no longer want.
Pay it forward. Make someone else’s day by paying it forward. Whether When someone does a good deed for you, then pay it forward, and do it for someone else. Whether its buying a cup of coffee, or helping someone else in the way you were helped, paying it forward spreads joy as well as gratitude.
Random acts of kindness. Instead of responding to someone else’s good deed, why not just do a good deed yourself. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
Practice forgiveness. Sometimes the lessons we learn are learnt the hard way, and they can be very painful. By forgiving the person who hurt you, you are not absolving the person from their guilt, but you are releasing yourself from the pain that you’re holding onto. Acknowledge the lesson and be grateful for it, but in a positive way. Sometimes the gifts we are sent come in unusual packages!
Sometimes the person you have to forgive is yourself, so this can be a very powerful way of helping you move forward. One way of doing this was suggested by Carolan Dickinson in her Udemy course: “(your/persons name) from my heart to yours, I forgive you for anything real or perceived you may or may not have done to hurt me, from this lifetime or any other.” Repeat three times.
There are lots more ways you can practice gratitude and if you’d like to read more, then check out this article from Lifehack. You may also want to read Roberts Emmon’s article. He’s a scientific expert on the effects of gratitude.